The Dos and Don’ts for website usability testing


As many of you would be website usability experts will find out, usability testing can be quite daunting in the very beginning. There will be many questions floating around about what should be tested, how should it be tested, and when should it be tested. And knowing what to do and what not to do when testing is a learning process of trial and error.

Not all websites function in the same way, so split testing and multi variant testing techniques on some sites might differ slightly. You usually need to find these out for yourself with a little abit of basic guidance from articles like these.

Based on my website testing experience, I’ve listed a few DOs and DONTs that I’ve learnt while starting a website testing plan. Here they are:


Website Testing DOs


Make sure you know why you are doing the test

 Before you start any website testing, make sure you know what areas in your site you want to improve by doing the testing.  Do you want to improve the conversation rate, or decrease the bounce rate, or maybe increase the time on site.

Make sure you plan to test the right things

 Be sure to have a plan when testing your site. You must have a good idea of the elements and areas you would like to test and know what kind of results you should be expecting. Here are some examples of site elements you can test: landing pages, navigation, promotions, copy, colours, call to action etc.

Make sure you are testing at the right time.

To get the most conclusive results, you have to be sure that you are testing at the right time. If there are irregularities in traffic or conversion rate because of some website events, your testing results will be inaccurate. An example of testing at the wrong time would be when you are doing massive promotions or sales on selected products; this would cause irregular traffic and conversion rate to specific products, and your testing results will be flawed.

Give your test the right amount of time to get a conclusive result.

Depending on what you are testing and depending on your traffic volume, you need to give your test significant time to get proper conclusive results. The trick is to know when a test is running too long and is wasting time, or if a test is stopped to early before real conclusive results are available.

Measure and track your results accurately

There is no point testing if you are not going to track your data accurately. Make sure you have tracking setup correctly in your testing tool or with your analytics tools, and make sure you are measuring the right metrics.

Analyse your results in depth

Analyse you results in depth based on your testing goals, and understand how the test has affected other goal metrics on your site. For example if you were measuring the effect on changing an image to improve your bounce rate, you should also analyse how this change has affected your conversion rate. You should always analyse the results to see if there are any important trends to take note of.

Continue testing, and don’t stop after just after the first test

It is not wise just to do one test and then stop. Always be testing (A.B.T). Once you have completed a test, you should use results from the first test to help with the next test. Have a testing regime, so you are always testing your site on a regular basis.


Website Testing DONTs


Testing small elements on your site without thinking about the big picture

Before you test little things like font, colour, and text, you must consider testing the bigger website concepts like page layout, navigation etc.

Testing more than 1 thing at a time, without having a plan

Don’t test too many things at the start. The more elements you test concurrently the longer it takes to get a conclusive result. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying don’t do multi variant testing, I’m just saying have a plan to test the right elements first and not everything all at once.

Don’t get caught up in other people’s opinions, let the numbers do the talking

Don’t let the opinions from the highest paid person; influence the direction and outcome of the test. Just keep testing and let the numbers do the talking.

Not measuring the entire funnel of your website when testing

Even if you are testing with goal metrics like bounce rate and time on site, you should always be focusing it back on conversion goals. To improve the success of your site you need to ultimately tie in other metrics to conversions in the funnel.

Not taking action after you have a result

The biggest mistake you can make, is not taking the right action after you have concluded your test and got your testing results. You should use the results to improve other areas of your site, and for more testing purposes.


There are many more dos and don’t to website testing, but I will have to let YOU find the ones relevant to your website yourself. A great web resource to follow for a/b split testing and multi variant testing: is Happy testing!